U.K. seabed manager The Crown Estate gave eight offshore wind farm operators permission to proceed with applications to expand their capacity by a collective 3.4 GW, it said Oct. 4.
The eight projects around England and Wales have completed initial screening and will now undergo a Habitats Regulations Assessment over the next six to nine months to probe their potential impact on any nature conservation sites.
They could obtain lease agreements by next summer, at which point developers could start individual environmental assessments and apply for statutory planning approval, according to The Crown Estate.
The body said it is also considering additional wind leases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to maintain a project pipeline through the late 2020s and beyond.
The projects cleared for the next stage are:
* Equinor's Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm (up to 317 MW).
* Equinor's Dudgeon offshore wind farm (up to 402 MW).
* The Race Bank offshore wind farm, owned by Ørsted A/S, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund, Sumitomo Corp. and others (up to 573 MW).
* SSE PLC and Innogy SE's Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm (up to 504 MW).
* The Galloper offshore wind farm, owned by Innogy, Siemens Financial Services GmbH and others (up to 353 MW).
* E.ON SE's Rampion offshore wind farm (up to 400 MW).
* The Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, owned by Innogy, Stadtwerke München GmbH and others (up to 576 MW).
* Vattenfall AB's Thanet offshore wind farm (up to 300 MW).